Architecture Billings Continue to Decline

Demand for design services in May saw few signs of rebounding following a record drop in billings the month prior, according to a report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for May was 32 compared to 29.5 in April, but still represents a decrease in services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any number below 50 indicates a decrease in billings). In May, the decline in new project inquiries and design contract scores moderated from April, posting scores of 38 and 33.1 respectively. 

“A large portion of the design and construction industry remains mired in  steep cutbacks as many businesses and organizations are still trying to figure out what actions make sense in this uncertain economic environment,” says AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “There are growing signs of activity beginning to pick up in some areas, but others are seeing a pause as pandemic concerns continue to grow.”

Key ABI figures for May:

  • Regional averages: West (36); South (30.6); Midwest (29.7); Northeast (25.1)
  • Sector index breakdown: institutional (35.7); multi-family residential (34.8); mixed practice (28.5); commercial/industrial (24.8)
  • Project inquiries index: 38
  • Design contracts index: 33.1

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.

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